Garden Tiger Moth photographed by Gabor Pozsgai ©This site is no longer being updated.

We have retained it as a reference for future research.

Further information

You are here

Public goods in agriculture and rural areas: Negotiating the shared social and environmental dimensions

Working Group 3: Public goods in agriculture and rural areas: Negotiating the shared social and environmental dimensions

Catherine Darrot [1,2], Philippe Boudes [1,2], Diana Feliciano [3], Diane Giorgis [4], Paul Swagemakers [5]

1: Agrocampus Ouest, France; 2: ESO-UMR6590, Université Rennes 2, CNRS, France; 3: University of Aberdeen, UK; 4: LADYSS-CNRS : UMR7533 – Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne – Université Paris VII - Paris Diderot – Université Paris VIII - Vincennes Saint-Denis – Université Paris X - Paris Ouest Nanterre La Déf, France; 5: Department of Applied Economics, University of Vigo, Spain 

Contact: and

The issues suggested for this XXVIth congress about changes and property relations in a neoliberal world are closely related to public and common goods thinking, both as justification and channel of social and public action in rural development.

The concept of public good has been developed by economists and answers a strict neo-classical economic definition, based on non-rivality and non-excludability which excludes it from market rules. This would justify the necessity of public support and of public policies and regulations.

Social sciences have more recently underlined the increasing success of the notions of public and common goods, understood as both useful to the community and needing to be managed by that community in order to insure their optimal use, production or preservation. This necessitates a public agreement, based on social processes, on the definition of their usefulness and desirability. Common goods are overlapping public goods when coming to the understanding of their publicisation process (Kaul and Mendoza, 2003).

The provision, use and management of agriculture-based common and public goods are objects of negotiations between all the stakeholders involved: farmers, citizens, decision makers, land managers are involved in the negotiation of the public and/or private usefulness of those goods, of the public and/or private rights to use them, of their best conditions of production or preservation, and of the type of public action and public policies to be designed to support them. There is a deliberation about what is common, what is desirable concerning those goods, and why and how they should be publicised. There are a large number of stakeholders involved in those debates and actions.

Though being also carried at the global level, such negotiations become strongly illustrated and concrete at the territorial level, where the effects of both production/destruction dynamics and of negotiations for use and management are directly connected to the days-to-day life of the actors in their common landscape.

Globalised influences and material flows interrelate with the negotiation of the local provision of food and connected ecosystem services. These are coming along with farming: farmers and farming enterprises can play an active role in the provision of public goods and services of importance to them.

We welcome theoretical and empirical contributions on

  • The (distinguishing) interrelations between ‘public’ and ‘common’ based on the analysis of social processes linked to rural, forestry and agricultural issues
  • The interrelations between empirical dynamics and new vocabulary in public policies, of which recent CAP negotiations
  • The different interpretations and perceptions of citizens, farmers and / or entrepreneurs on the inclusion of public goods in their action; How to position family farmers in these dynamics.
  • Case studies centred on public and common goods in rural areas and agriculture, analysed as objects of negotiations about their public value, definition, production, use and management. We will particularly welcome analysis dedicated to the case of forests of which their role in climate change mitigation and adaptation ; to edible landscapes and/or forests ;to interactions dynamics between citizens, farmers, landowners, forest keepers as public/common goods managers and protectors

Contributors accepted to this working group would have to write an extended abstract (max 2 page A4) that they should share before the congress, and present in a short introduction at the congress. Some of the sessions will be organised by means of the fishbowl method.